"Once I could persuade these guys that all I wanted to hear from them was what they did - Tell me what you do - once you can persuade someone that this is all you're after, you can't shut them up because we're all fascinated by what we do." -- Roger Angell
Roger Angell (born September 19, 1920), has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker and was its chief fiction editor for many years. He has written many memorable essays on baseball as well as numerous fiction, non-fiction, and criticism pieces, and formerly wrote an annual Christmas poem for the magazine.
Angell is the son of editor and author Katharine Sergeant Angell White and the stepson of renowned essayist E. B. White, but was raised for the most part by his father, Ernest Angell. He is a 1938 graduate of the Pomfret School and attended Harvard University.
"I knew I wasn't a baseball writer. I was scared to death. I really was afraid to talk to players, and I didn't want to go into the press box because I thought I was faking it.""I've been lucky. I've met a lot of baseball people, and I've learned to value people who talk - people who talk well and in long sentences and even long paragraphs.""The great thing about catchers is that they do a lot of different things, and they're basically overlooked."
Angell's earliest published works were pieces of short fiction and personal narratives. Several of these pieces were collected in The Stone Arbor and Other Stories (1960) and A Day in the Life of Roger Angell (1970, ISBN 0-670-25916-0).
He first wrote professionally about baseball in 1962, when William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker (for which his mother and stepfather worked from the 1920s through the 1970s), had him travel to Florida to write about spring training.
Since then, Angell has translated a lifetime passion for baseball into a steady stream of elegantly written essays, most of which were originally published in The New Yorker, where he has worked as an editor since 1956. Many of these essays have been collected in a series of critically acclaimed, best-selling books:
The Summer Game (1972, ISBN 0-670-68164-4)
Five Seasons (1977, ISBN 0-671-22743-2)
Late Innings (1982, ISBN 0-671-42567-6)
Season Ticket (1988, ISBN 0-395-38165-7)
Once More Around the Park (1991, ISBN 0-345-36737-5)
Game Time, edited by Steve Kettmann, with an introduction by Richard Ford (2003, ISBN 0-15-601387-8)
Let Me Finish (2006, ISBN 0-15-101350-0)
A Pitcher's Story (2001, ISBN 0-446-52768-8) is the book-length result of a year that Angell spent speaking with New York Yankees pitcher David Cone and Cone's family, friends and coaches.
Angell has been called the "Poet Laureate of baseball" but dislikes the term. In a review of Once More Around the Park for the Journal of Sport History, Richard C. Crepeau wrote that "Gone for Good," his essay on the career of Steve Blass, "may be the best piece that anyone has ever written on baseball or any other sport."